Three times candle tour: Wian Thian (Makha Bucha) Thailand

An important annual Buddhist event is Wian Thian in February. It is the third lunar month of the year, with a procession around the temple on the evening of the full moon. The exact day is therefore determined by the position of the moon. Wian Thian roughly translates to ’round with candles’ or the candle round takes place once a year and emphasizes the relationship of the Thai with Buddhism and the Buddhist neighborhood community. What significance do the Three Jewels have within Buddhism and what else does the procession entail?

Wian Thian Thailand

  • What does the procession entail?
  • What does the Three Jewels Buddhism consist of?
  • Reason for the Lotus flower, candles and incense
  • For whom is the tour further conducted?
  • Participate in Wian Thian yourself


What does the procession entail?

Before the tour, everyone kneels around the central building of the temple for half an hour, listening to the chanting of monks and praying. The candles and incense sticks are then lit, after which the procession can start. There is a collective walk around the temple three times with the Lotus flower between outstretched palms (praying position of the hands) to honor the Three Jewels. It has been done every year for almost 2,500 years in accordance with the Buddha’s teachings.

What does the Three Jewels Buddhism consist of?

The most important possessions within Buddhism are the Three Jewels, which are honored during the procession. They are not real jewels, however, the next three cornerstones of Buddhist society.


The Buddha or the enlightened or the heavenly. The Buddha existed as a person in the past, namely Guatama Buddha, and serves as a target model for many followers, but it mainly refers to the highest spiritual level achievable. In other words, it is not so much a God, but a way of life in which every person tries to perfect life by doing good. This way of life can be seen everywhere in Thai society. Regularly at the temple (Wat) merit or doing good (Tham Boen) in order to gain enlightenment and support the Buddhist community.


This is the teaching of the Buddha. How should you live and how can you improve life for yourself and those around you. The goal is of course to reach the highest spiritual level, but for some people this may take several lifetimes through reincarnation. The teachings of the Buddha are already taught by monks to young people at school, but they are also central to every Thai in daily life.


It is formed by the Buddhist community. The monks who live in the temple, the children who help them, the school connected to the temple, the twenty-year-old men who are obliged to spend a few weeks in the temple, everyone who makes a merit or gives alms, and so on . In principle, this includes everything that is organized in the neighborhood and society in the field of Buddhism.

Reason for the Lotus flower, candles and incense

Source: Saavem, RgbstockThe use of the candle is similar to what we do in the west. Light a candle if we want to think of someone or something special. This is used to light the incense sticks, clearing the air of any spirits. This way you can communicate directly with Buddha. In addition, the lotus flower is worn. It is the cleanest plant species available precisely because it has the Lotus effect. It has a self-cleaning function, so there is never any dirt present. On earth, the flower represents the purest and is therefore extremely suitable for worshiping the Buddha or temple.

For whom is the tour further conducted?

In addition to the Three Jewels, people also go to the temple for other reasons during the tour. It is done additionally for:

  • past, present and future according to hell, earth and heaven. The transience of life and the world;
  • yourself, your partner, family and relatives;
  • in memory of a loved one;
  • the community of the local neighborhood. Every neighborhood in Thailand has one or more temples, which means that a large part of the population participates in the parade.


Participate in Wian Thian yourself

If you come to the country as a tourist in February, you have a good chance of experiencing a procession. On the day of the full moon, go to a nearby temple at 7:20 PM, after which the ascent starts. You can obtain your Lotus flower, candle and incense sticks for a merit of 50 or 100 Bath, after which you can participate in the procession.

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  • The Thai Loi Krathong festival and river goddess worship

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